Here’s your reminder that using robotic mannequins to advertise for a pot business is illegal, at least in Wood Village, Oregon, where the owner of the offending mannequins was fined.
The fines are part of a newly revised Wood Village sign code, which now bans “portable signs”. Aaron Michelsen, the owner of NW Compassion Medical Center and Fabulicious Cupcakes, which are housed in the same building, was fined a total of $3,000 for signs the small town considered to be in violation of the code. He was charged $1,000 each for two mannequins that were touting signs that said, “Got Chronic.” and a sign that was mounted on the roof of his cupcake business. The mannequins sported curly blonde wigs and were dressed in pot-leaf patterned clothing.
Michelsen argues that the fines are a result of what he views as retaliation against his business, the only dispensary in the town. In 2015, a city utility worker named Randy Lauer wrote a one-star review of the business: “Pot and cupcakes might mix for some (insert pun here) but not for me. Terrible business practice.” Lauer is now a city councilor in Troutdale, and has cast himself as an opponent to legal recreational cannabis. He has apparently written numerous unflattering comments about the Wood Village dispensary.
“In Wood Village, you’re not free to promote yourself, which means you’re not free to run your own business,” the beseiged dispensary owner told The Outlook.
For their part, the town argues that they treat all businesses fairly and equally. “That code is being uniformly applied regardless of the business type,” Wood Village City Manager Bill Peterson said. “We are not singling out any business type.”
Discrimination by a small town with some people against recreational, or just a case of people thinking mannequins are creepy: it’s up to you to decide.